Week One: Cultivating Compassion For The Lost
So often, Christians live day to day with no real concern for the lost people around them. Why is that? Is it apathy, a misunderstanding of what we are called to do? Misplaced priorities? Or just fear of being rejected? Proverbs 28:1 says: The righteous are as bold as a lion. If you are born again, then you are righteous in Jesus Christ, so you do have boldness through His Spirit. Should we not look at our neighbours, co-workers and people we see in our everyday life and be grieved over their lost souls? Can we claim to be biblical Christians and yet have no desire to call out to the lost people around us? Let’s look at some biblical reason for cultivating a compassion for the lost.
1. God Commands Us To Love
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:8, But always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Let us love one another, for love is from God. 1 John 4:7. Sometimes we find it hard to love our family and friends, yet God is calling us to much more: to love our enemies… the ones that persecute us. If we love God we will pray for our enemies, family, friends and interceding to God on their behalf. Let’s pray without ceasing that God would open their hearts and save them.
2. God Desires That None Would Perish
This is good, and its pleasing in the sight of our God and Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth 1 Timothy 2:4. Not wishing any should perish but all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9b It is God desire for all to come to the knowledge of the truth and repent, should this not be our desire also? If we look at our own salvation story, we realize that we serve a patient God. Then let us not stop praying for the salvation of the lost of this world.
3. Because our salvation is a Gift
Our own life has been rescued from an eternity separated for our God. We must feel compassion for the lost because of our own undeserving gift given to us. For by grace you have been saved through faith and it’s not your own doing, it’s a gift of God. Ephesians 2:8 There are so many people around us dying of cancer, if we had the cure would we not gladly share it? How much more important is our eternal soul, and we have the cure! Pray every day that God would increase our brokenness over our own sin and that our eyes would be focused on the true Saviour.
Practical Steps for Cultivating a Compassionate Heart
1. Keep in your mind the reality of those who don’t know Christ. Whoever believes in the son has eternal life: whoever does not obey the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains in him. John 3:36 Picture standing on judgment day beside your good friend and him turning to you and asking why didn’t you tell me more seriously the things of eternity.
2. Meditate on the Sufficiency of Christ. Christ Jesus died once and paid for all my sins; past, present and future and all we need to do is trust and repent and he is faithful to forgive. We need to preach the gospel to our self each day and glory in it. “ Glory in the work of the cross for yourself, and we will begin to glory in it for others” John Piper
3. Look at the lost in your community this week and ask the Lord to help you take note of 3 specific things that demonstrate to you that they don’t know Jesus Christ.
4. Create a top 10 list of the people in your life, family, friends, co-worker, or your barber, anyone that is not saved. Commit to pray for each person specifically each day.
5. Pray that God would greatly increase your love for others. And may the Lord make your increase and abound in love for one another and for all. 1.Thessalonians 3:12 So often we forget to ask God to change our desires. This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 1. John 5:14. Let’s tap into the power of prayer.
6. Meditate on the Quote by Charles Spurgeon.
"Love your fellowmen, and cry about them if you cannot bring them to Christ. If you cannot save them, you can weep over them. If you cannot give them a drop of cold water in hell, you can give them your heart's tears while they are still in this body." C.H. Spurgeon